Humans are uniquely acquisitive. We fill our homes, our garages and our closets to the brim. And the older we get, the more we accumulate, lose track of and push into storage rather than face the inevitable.
It’s not easy to get rid of our worldly possessions, and the “inevitable” rarely gets faced.
Here’s the problem. We are simply ATTACHED. The hoarders you read about or see on tv aren’t all necessarily psychologically ill, they are just us on steroids. They are, in fact, often single women who have attempted to substitute things for people they may have lost in their lives–husbands, children, brothers/sisters etc. Things provide some comfort if surrounded by them. But you feel sorry for hoarders (we had one once in a rental)–and maybe see a little buit of them in ourselves at times.
My wife is the ultimate Material Girl. I love her dearly but I cannot get her to stop buying things. Amazon is just making it so much easier these days. And having stores open–but not much else to distract ourselves. during the pandemic). (She HAS pretty much given up going into THRIFT stores because she knows we ‘don’t need a thing.” At least, she tells herself that and I KNOW that. But then, we are owners of two houses, one in the country and one in the city. My closet(s) are bursting at the seams (or are my clothese bursting at their seams, haha). Clothing is the Number 1 thing my wife buys me. I’ve told her that i have enough shirts, shoes and jackets for the rest of my natural life—it doesn’t dissuade her.
One trusim: buying more stuff is far easier than getting rid of what you already have. We do go to Goodwill and the Salvation Army (at least to their outside vans which is much safer than going in the store!) to get rid of some things. But our car, a compact, is hardly adequate to transport much of what you could call “recyclables” at any one time. I’ve threatened to get a truck but I don’t really need it for anything generally except hauling things between houses.
It was early 2020 and I had planned a neighborhood garage sale as we finally agreed on quite a few items that were just accumulating dust. Guess what–the pandemic came and everyone was being told to stay home and social distance. But we’d moved most of what was going to go on sale or be donated to a grandchild’s educational trip (I forget to where), which ended up being cancelled anyway, to the garage near the street. Well the garage sale was cancelled. We stuck a free sign outside on the driveway and gave away everything. We publicized it on next.door.com. (Putting it back in the garage or house would have been just too painful.)
I’m pretty sure it will be up to our children to dispose of our possessions when we either go into assisted living or die. And they will be ruthless–installing a rollaway dumpster on our property just like the one I insisted on when I married my wife 25 years ago and we were ready to move to a different house. (It’s a fantasy to think that your kids will want your stuff for THEIR already well appointed homes.)
I don’t feel too guilty about literally dumping our stuff on the kids/grandkids. When the houses are empty they’ll get what’s most valuable –the houses themselves. (Which, if they choose to live in them, they can fill them up just like we did.)
The beat goes on…